More than 200 COVID-19 tests daily to begin this week

Seventh-day Adventist Clinic's health care workers continue with drive-thru screening at the SDA clinic in Tamuning on on April 10. The government of Guam also plans to conduct COVID-19 screening this week. Kevin Milan/The Guam Daily Post

An estimated 258 people are expected to be tested daily on Guam beginning this week based on full testing capacity, according to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. 

“We are going to now allow testing of all patients with mild symptoms,” said Department of Public Health Director Linda Unpingco-DeNorcey. “That includes anyone with fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat and anyone reporting disruption of taste or smell or have diarrhea.”

Anyone who is a health care worker, first responder or cares for a vulnerable population will also be authorized to get tested for the virus.

“The swabs are not able to be done on Guam. It will be sent to DLS for testing off island,” she said. “The other prong that we are doing is active case finding, especially, for a lot of individuals that live in isolated remote areas and we will be working with the mayors to identify the patients throughout our whole island.”

Health investigators continue to track the confirmed cases, so far, along with a team to oversee contact tracing.

“Fewer and fewer people present themselves with COVID-19 symptoms at our clinics. This is a good sign but it doesn’t mean we won this war,” said Leon Guerrero. “Over the last week and a half, we have been seeing the volume of testing is decreasing. Since April 7, we have been low in our trajectory of infected cases…We then started thinking that we need to start looking at the recovery period. But, in order for us to be comfortable and confident, I want to make sure we have a good database on how well we exceeded in prevention and find out if these cases are being eliminated. To do that we are implementing expanded testing.”

Public Health will lead the effort to go out to high-risk areas and set up drive-thru testing locations around the island.

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes sent an email to Korean Consulate of Guam on Friday regarding South Korea's successes in the battle against the virus and the test kits being manufactured out of that country. 

"We were pleased to hear from South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs that testing kits from three different companies received preliminary FDA approval as of March 28," said Muna-Barnes. "We hope to know more about these three tests so we can evaluate and consider using these tests."

The governor, however, said test kits out of South Korea is a "dead issue."  She is only allowing test kits that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and vetted through the standards of U.S. guidelines through CDC and other “official recognized sanctioned entities.”

Unpingco-DeNorcey said the World Health Organization is sending 200 more test kits in two weeks with three additional shipments to follow every couple of weeks afterward.

Additionally, CDC is sending 200 kits to arrive on April 22 along with 200 more to arrive on April 29.

700 rapid test kits are expected to arrive this week, as well.

“We are concerned about the high-risk individuals and the uninsured, as well. We are going to focus on those efforts,” Unpingco-DeNorcey said.

Over the weekend, the Joint Information Center reported zero positive cases after only testing 16 samples at Guam’s Public Health laboratory.


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